Collective bargaining introduction part 1


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  • Hello my name is Jim Walker and I am pleased to welcome you to my class this semester which is collective bargaining labor studies number 2. In reviewing the enrollments and the participants that are registered for this class I noticed that a number of you have taken my class previously either online or in a classroom. To those of you who are taking another class of mine I welcome you and look forward to sharing additional information and knowledge that can help you in furthering your knowledge and experience with labor relations. To those of you who are taking my class for the 1 st time I welcome you and look forward to sharing information, experience and knowledge about collective bargaining. I am assuming that there are students that are taking this class for the sole purpose of earning credits towards graduation and may not have had any previous Association with labor unions. To those of you who fall within this category I definitely welcome you because it is extremely important that more of our students and our citizens become familiar with the role of labor and the process of collective bargaining. This lecture will be the most lengthy with future lectures consuming less time. Please be patient and view the slide show in its entirety. This slide show is the foundation of future lectures. You can always pause the slide show and finish viewing when it’s more convenient. As an instructor I enjoy meeting with students an teaching students face-to-face. Unfortunately online classes do not facilitate such an opportunity very frequently. I also enjoy the natural presentation of my materials in a class room. An online course requires the instructor provide a transcription of the lecture. The transcription is provided in the note section a PowerPoint presentation. However, this semester I will be using a voice recognition software. The software allows me to present the lecture in a more natural, versus a rehearsed and scripted form. The software will allow me to present the lecture much as I would in the classroom. You see we think at about 1500 words a minute, we speak at about between 250 to 400 words per minute, and regrettably my typing skills are limited to about 40 words her minutes. So using this software will allow me to present information more extensively because I’m able to think and process information faster and more naturally. So how you here my voice, my tone, my emphasis is more natural to my speaking in the classroom. I hope that you will enjoy the presentations using this new technology. At least it’s new for me. Now for those of you who have been following the news regarding collective bargaining, and in particular the events occurring in the state of Wisconsin, you are certainly aware that collective bargaining has suddenly become a mainstream topic of discussion. And during this early part of our semester we will be discussing the events leading up to as well as what is currently going on in the state of Wisconsin. Just to keep everyone, when I refer to Wisconsin, I am referring to the recent repeal of the right to collectively bargain for public employees. And sadly, it is the state of Wisconsin where the rights of public employees to collectively bargain were 1 st established 50 years ago. Labor unions face some difficult challenges. But with these challenges, opportunities for labor does exist. throughout the semester we will be talking about some of those challenges as well as some of those opportunities as it relates to collective bargaining. But I do not want to spend too much time on the 1 st slide of the 1 st week of our semester discussing the politics of labor unions and other threats that have been made to take away their rights. Heck I could talk about that a semester alone but this class is about collective bargaining so I will get back on point but I want to leave you with this perspective. In my opinion collective-bargaining is the true voice of the workers in a workplace and in the absence of collective bargaining that voice is lost. For over 32 years I as an advocate, activist, representative, and organizer have served as a voice for the members and organizations that I represented, and now consult. I had the opportunity to negotiate hundreds of collective bargaining agreements during this period of time and each experience was always different from a previous experience or a concurring experience. When I say concurring experience that’s because I often was negotiating more than one contract at a time with different employers. If there is an area of labor relations that I enjoyed the most it is collective-bargaining. I have a lot of knowledge and experience in this field and I look forward to sharing it with you. I am presently a consultant with my own firm and I am serving as a consultant on a variety of labor relation topics specifically negotiations, arbitration and unfair labor practices as well as political action. I have served as an adjunct instructor with the Los Angeles trade technical College for proximately 15 years. Prior to 2007 I had been employed as a senior representative of a major educational union in the state of California for a period of 28 years. It had been my intention to retire and enjoy some of life’s more frivolous but fruitful experiences but it seems that after I retired of those I had been associated with in the labor community started calling me and asking me to give them advice concerning matters within their organization. At the same time shortly after my retirement I was contacted by the Los Angeles trade technical College and was asked if I would be interested in teaching more classes and more specifically would I be interested in developing online courses. So after a whopping 4 months of retirement in 2008 I returned essentially to a full-time status as a consultant and as a part-time adjunct instructor. So here I am ready to pass on many years of experience knowledge and information to you. So again let me say that I am delighted the teaching a course in collective bargaining and I will say again I love collective bargaining. I love being a negotiator, advocate, activist, and a contract campaign organizer. I am confident by the end of this course you will have the same enthusiasm and interest in collective bargaining as I. So, let’s get started. 0:00 – 9:10
  • Now that I’ve had an opportunity to introduce the course, I have one question for you. Now, take a few minutes and answer this question as authentically or as honestly as you can. And I want you to answer this question in the context of if you were negotiating a contract, not for yourself, but for a collection of bargaining unit members who can be as few as 25, and as many as thousands that may be represented by the union. press pause on the slideshow right now or if you are not listening to the slideshow with audio and are reading the text that accompanies this lecture and the slide then I would ask you not to move to the next slide until you answer the question so take a moment and press pause. Okay now you’re ready I want you to identify 3 general goals of the negotiations if you were the negotiator. And remember the context that I asked you to answer the question. Okay now I what you to not only answer the question but I want you to be able to explain, at least to yourself, since were not in the same classroom for you to share with others, I want you to take a moment and explain to yourself why those would be your goals. Okay now write those down hold them for a minute and when you’re ready let’s resume the slides. 9:10 -10:58
  • okay, now you have had an opportunity to think about and identify 3 goals that you would have if you were the negotiator in the context of negotiating a contract for an entire bargaining unit and not something to just satisfy yourself. Goals are an extremely important element of any negotiations, and again I want to emphasize extremely important! Now let’s take a look at my goals as a negotiator on behalf of a bargaining unit. Now historically my experience has been serving in the role of a chief negotiator. This means that I serve or served as the spokesperson at the bargaining table. This also means that I am responsible for facilitating the negotiating process at the bargaining table. Now there are a lot more individuals involved in the collective bargaining process but the chief negotiator is the person responsible for communicating the proposal, explaining the proposals, and often writing the proposals. The chief negotiator is also responsible for executing the overall strategy established by the bargaining committee for use at the bargaining table. Okay so let’s take a look at the goals that I have established. And it’s important to share that my goals are not necessarily the absolute best goals, and certainly my goals became modified with time, experience, and wisdom about the collective bargaining process. But, nevertheless, these are the goals that I, as a chief negotiator, settled on and became more confident in. So these are my goals, number 1: to achieve the objectives, the objectives are obviously the proposals that the bargaining unit has submitted to management. The goal is to achieve these objectives, to get a yes to your proposal. And I might add that the more objectives, or proposals would you want to put it in an overall contract proposal, the more difficult it becomes to achieve your objectives. I seek as a negotiator a consolidation of support for the proposals, for the objectives. In other words I want to know as negotiator that the members of the bargaining unit are going to stand up and support the objectives that have been established. If the objectives are not supported it becomes very difficult to achieve those objectives. we’re going to be talking a lot more about objectives and how to establish objectives, consolidate and prioritize them as well. So I won’t go to much further at this time other then to reinforce that one of my goals is to achieve the objectives. Obviously our membership will not be happy or satisfied with a contract that does not achieve the objectives or another way of putting it is satisfying their interest. And I hope you understand and ca embrace what I’m talking about at least in the early stages of this conversation. so again the objective achieve the objectives. My next objective, and these are not in any particular rank, is to achieve the objectives and then overwhelmingly ratify the contract. Now for you newcomers to Labor Relations that are taking this class I don’t want to assume that you have a clear understanding of ratification, so I will just go on to say that it is a requirement in the union rules for the democracy that the union after achieving it’s objectives to the extent possible, or also known as reaching a tentative agreement, the union bargaining committee then brings forth the tentative agreement for a ratification vote. And the contract is ratified if a simple majority of those voting approve the contract. Now I just said simple majority, that is essentially 50% of those voting +1 vote, that represents a simple majority. That is not my goal as a negotiator and I would not want it to be a goal for any union negotiator. My goal is that the contract is overwhelmingly ratified now one I say overwhelmingly I am not an idealist and I recognize that in today’s society it is difficult to get people to agree to much of anything but if I can get 65% and above of the bargaining unit to ratify the agreement, then I feel that I have met one of my 4 goals as a negotiator. Now why do I want members to overwhelmingly ratify the contract. It’s because as a negotiator I want to build the union. If the contract is ratified near a 50/50 split it is unlikely that a environment has been developed that will build the union. In this circumstance you now have divisiveness, or are quite likely to have divisiveness because there is a divide among the membership. You’re going to have 50% who are reasonably satisfied and you’re going to have 50% who are unreasonably satisfied. And I say unreasonably and reasonably because there is in my opinion no such thing as 100% satisfaction because the negotiations process itself is a compromising process. You are giving something in exchange for something else and therefore you may feel less satisfied because you had to counter propose with something that you really would’ve like to have had agreement on but had to compromise. So far I’ve said I want to achieve the objectives established by the bargaining committee and unit. I want to overwhelmingly ratify the contract because that segues into I want to build the union I don’t want to diminish the union I don’t want to lower the union’s power. I want to build the union. I want the member ship to feel pride, respect, appreciation for their union. And finally, my last objective, and again as I said these are not in order or ranking, is I want to he able to improve the labor management relationship. Now you may want to say for you traditionalist who want to take on management at every opportunity well to do so unnecessarily is not improving the labor-management relationship. My objective is to improve the labor-management relationship through the use of the collective bargaining process as well as the firm administration of the grievance procedure in enforcing the contract. I don’t subscribe to the a doctrine that you have to go along to get along, because to me that is simply being co-opted as a labor organization. In other words you are just trying to get along with management. That’s not what I’m talking about what I’m talking about is improving the labor-management relationship by open, hones, an effective communication. And I can say that best by saying that my objective is to improve the labor-management relationship by not satisfying management’s interest at the expense of the union membership’s interest. The interests of both parties must be reasonably satisfied in order to have an effective labor-management relationship. end. 19:25
  • in the lexicon of American politics you often here references to the term “ vital interests”. One of these vital interest is our national security for instance. Well unions in representing its members understand that or should understand that the workers or the members also have their vital interests. It is important to keep these vital interests in mind when negotiating a collective bargaining agreement. There are surveys are conducted by a number of reliable sources and one of those sources for instance is the Bureau of Labor statistics, also known as BLS. I use the Bureau of Labor Statistics quite often for keeping up with data important and necessary for negotiating a collective bargaining agreement. To put these vital interests perspective let’s take a look at this slide which is the national survey our ranking of issues. And you will see that there are 2 categories. One category is vital interest as a relates to a strong economy and the vital interests as a relates to a weak economy. So let’s put this in context of today’s economy. I think we can all agree that we are in not just a weak economy we are experiencing a very very weak economy. Now I don’t have any data to offer you for a very very weak economy but the rankings above demonstrate that when there is a weak economy the top 3 issues and these are ranked in order is job security, protection of benefits these are more are referred to as health benefits, and improving wages to the extent possible. But what becomes more important to the union members when these surveys are conducted as a relates to situation of a weak economy it is clearly that the union member once to retain their employment. So simply put people want a job and they want to keep their job. My own experience has proved this to be true. Still in a weak economy I found historically my top objective was was to protect jobs. Now let’s take a look at a strong economy. In a strong economy people have jobs generally if they want them consumers are buying again. The stock market is going up. People are traveling again. They’re taking vacations again. they’re spending more money at the holidays. This creates demand for goods and services and the economy become stronger. The threat of losing your job due to a weak economy becomes less. Now in such economy the vital interest is in the perspective of the worker is let’s improve our wages. We went through some bad times we made our sacrifices now let’s improve our wages. Let’s improve our benefits. And let’s improve our working conditions. Is important that in the collective bargaining process the bargaining representatives always, and I emphasize always, keep the vital interest an all reasonable interests of the membership in mind when bargaining. 23:42
  • Recently I had the opportunity to do significant research for one of my classes and one of the scholars in labor relations is Kate Bronfenbrenner. Bronfenbrenner is from Cornell University and is the director of the labor studies labor center of their at the University. And she’s written several articles and a few books about collective-bargaining and the state of organizing and the state of unions in the United States today. You have an opportunity to read some of her articles as well is listen and view some of her lectures during the semester. But one thing that stood out to me as a relates to her research and this is somewhat of an extension of what I was just talking about in the previous slide relating to vital interest of union members. In her research she found that being respected and holding dignity are the most important issues for union members. Think about that! As employees we seek an desire to be respected and to be treated with dignity in the workplace. This make sense to me and I can relate. Who doesn’t want to be respected and to be treated with dignity in the workplace. So in essence this is what labor unions are all about they are about advocating for the respect and dignity of the workers. And after a union is organized and becomes the exclusive representative of a group of employees the main advocacy vehicle is through collective bargaining. Negotiating a collective bargaining agreement is the very process of advocating for respect and dignity in the workplace. Now rank yourself on a scale of 1 to 10, how important is holding dignity and being respected in your workplace? For me it’s a 10. This will be discussed in this topic’s practice forum. End 26:18
  • Please look at the definitions on this slide take a few moments and familiarize yourself with these terms before you move on to the next slide. These are terms that used frequently throughout this course. During the semester each topic block will contain labor relations vocabulary. I encourage you to become familiar with the vocabulary. To reinforce the importance of understanding Labor Relations terminology in each quiz there will be a multiple-choice question concerning the definition of a particular labor relations term. But most often you’ll hear words like strategy bargaining negotiate toward negotiations leverage a technique etc. these words will be used over and over again. End 29:00
  • Let's take a look at a simple definition of negotiations. This is not a definition that is complex. It is just a simple definition and explains that negotiations is the strategy used to achieve an objective and it is the art of finding a solution. And it is an art but it's also a science as you will learn as we progress through the semester and you apply negotiation techniques and strategies. You are negotiating when you attempt to reconcile differences. Many times there are issues that are brought to the table to bargain and the parties are at odds with each other or they differ with each other. The negotiation process gives each party an opportunity to sit down and exchange proposals that will, or could, reconcile those differences.   The more effective the communication is between the parties the more likely that the parties are able to reconcile those differences. Another way to determine that you are negotiating is when you are attempting to resolve disputes somewhat the same as trying to influence others. You are providing them with information, data. Your words are used in an attempt to influence them into a decision that would most likely satisfy your interest. And we are also negotiating when we are attempting to improve our relationships. The point here is that we all should understand that we all bring negotiations experience along with us in this course. You started negotiating with your parents the 1 st time that you cried as a child as an infant. In that situation you were actually attempting to influence your parents to give attention to you through a means of instinctive sound. You were seeking to have an interest satisfied you were actually negotiating as an infant. If we’ve ever had a relationship, which we all have, you have engaged in negotiations. That’s because relationships, or more specifically the effort to improve relationships, both at a personal and professional leve,l is an ongoing process of communication of your needs, of your interest, of your motivations. So there we have it. Your negotiating when you’re attempting to reconcile differences resolved disputes, influence others, and improve relationships. All of these come in to play in the collective bargaining process. End 32:19
  • We will be getting into the specific elements of negotiations and the preparation for same but as in real estate where the mantra is location, location, location, in collective bargaining the mantra is prepare, prepare, prepare. And I would add an exclamation mark behind each prepare to demonstrate emphasis. So let’s talk about some example timelines to give you a perspective if you are going to be part of or included in the collective bargaining process of when you should begin preparation for a new contract. If you’re negotiating a new or renewed complex multiple year agreement then does the gauche nation preparations should commence no later than 12 and ideally 18 months before you actually sit down at the table. This simply means that by the time you sit down at the table you have completely prepared yourself for bargaining you of sought out input from your membership you have determined the issues you have researched the issues you have prioritize the issues you have drafted the contract language and you have prepared the impure coal data or necessary arguments to support your specific proposals. A bargaining committee or chief-negotiator should never sit down at the table without having a complete portfolio of supportive data that contributes to the effort in influencing the other party. As far as when to actually commence negotiations a simple rule is approximately 6 weeks to 3 months in advance of the contract expiration. This is to give the parties ample opportunity to sit down and meet and negotiate on a sustained and regular basis over a period of weeks in order to arrive at an agreement before the contract expires. 34:57
  • In this slide is an example of a timeline. For example if the contract expires on December 31, 2012 that means that you should commence preparation on or about October 1, 2011. This means you’d want to complete all phases of preparation by September 30, 2011. then you would be prepared to actually commence negotiations on or about October 1, 2011. So this is a simple timeline just give you a perspective of how the counterfeit sin when you are preparing to negotiate a contract especially on multiyear contract or you’re going to negotiate the renewal of an existing contract. End 33:52
  • I’ve been talking a lot about bargaining and negotiating but until now I have not discussed where the rights to do so is derived from. The 1 st right to legally bargain was established by the national Labor Relations act. The act is also known as NRLA. A link to the national Labor Relations act has been posted in this topics lesson plan. One of your reading assignments this week is to read and study the national Labor Relations act. We’ll be talking more about this act at a different time. Over the years additional walls came into effect that allowed for public employees to meet and negotiate. Here in California there are a number of lawless that enable that right. Those are listed herein on this slide. I will be posting links to these walls in coming lesson plans. 37:02
  • it would be a perfect negotiation environment if you could sit down at the bargaining table with the other party and simply present your proposals along with your data and criteria and backup information that supports your proposal. Then after doing so the other party says we understand we except your proposal. Well that unfortunately is Alice in Wonderland thinking. It just doesn’t work that way and sometimes it’s difficult to get the other side to agree to the punctuation, the grammar, the construction of a sentence, let alone agreement on the substantive issues. Negotiating a contract requires a concerted effort to influence a positive outcome. In essence it requires a plan, and effort, a strategy. There are 4 concurrent actions that should be applied when engaging in the negotiations process. 1 st as I discussed in a previous slide you begin your preparation for negotiations. Well once you’re prepared then you’re ready to engage in contract negotiations. But concurrent with the contract negotiations preparation and concurrent with the actual contract negotiations, contract campaign planning should occur. Now you may ask what is a contract campaign, and for you who are new to labor relations this is an organized effort to develop goal, objectives, strategies, and tactics that will bring about pressure on the other side to agree to the proposals that have been submitted. Then after you have planned for contract campaign then the concurrent action is that you are executing your contract campaign. Effectively these actions will remain concurrent throughout the negotiations process until a contract agreement has been reached. You will continue to prepare for negotiations as the negotiations is a dynamic and not a static process, in other words once counterproposals are exchanged this requires additional and ongoing research. Then you have the counterproposals that your negotiating and these can have an impact on your original contract campaign. This effect then can lead to a difference in how you originally planned to execute your contract campaign. 40:11
  • Collective bargaining introduction part 1

    1. 1. Collective Bargaining LS – 2 <ul><li>Instructor: Jim Walker </li></ul><ul><li>Labor Educator </li></ul><ul><li>Consultant </li></ul><ul><li>15 years LATTC Adjunct Instructor </li></ul><ul><li>32 yrs. professional exp. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Negotiation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Arbitration and ULP </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Political Action </li></ul></ul>
    2. 2. What is the goal of negotiations? <ul><li>Before the next slide: </li></ul><ul><li>Press Pause on the Slideshow </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Take 5- minutes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Identify three general goals of a negotiation if you were the negotiator. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Explain why? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Now resume the slide show </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Instructors Goals as Negotiator <ul><li>Achieve the objectives </li></ul><ul><li>Overwhelming Ratify the Contract </li></ul><ul><li>Build the Union </li></ul><ul><li>Effective Labor –Mgt. Relationship </li></ul>
    4. 4. National Surveys Ranking of Issues <ul><li>Strong Economy </li></ul><ul><li>Improve Wages </li></ul><ul><li>Improve Benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Improve Working Conditions </li></ul><ul><li>Weak Economy </li></ul><ul><li>Job Security </li></ul><ul><li>Protect Benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Wages </li></ul>
    5. 5. Most Important Issue <ul><li>Being respected and holding dignity are the most important issues for union members according to research conducted by Kate Bronfenbrenner, a scholar on union issues. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Definitions <ul><li>Strategy: the art of devising or employing plans or stratagems towards a goal. </li></ul><ul><li>Bargaining: to negotiate the terms of an agreement, exchange </li></ul><ul><li>Negotiate: to confer with another in order to come to terms of an agreement </li></ul><ul><li>Technique: the systemic procedure by which a complex task is accomplished </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage: positional advantage; power to act effectively </li></ul>
    7. 7. Negotiations <ul><li>Negotiations is the strategy used to achieve an objective and the art of finding a solution. </li></ul><ul><li>You are negotiating when you attempt: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Reconcile differences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Resolve disputes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Influence others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve relationships </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. When to Begin Preparation <ul><li>Complex multiyear agreement: 12-18 months in advance of negotiation commencement. </li></ul><ul><li>Commence negotiations minimum 6 weeks – 3 months in advance of contract expiration. </li></ul>
    9. 9. Example Timeline <ul><li>Contract Expires December 31, 2012 </li></ul><ul><li>Commence Preparation October 1, 2011 </li></ul><ul><li>Complete all phases of preparation by Sept. 30, 2011 </li></ul><ul><li>Commence Negotiation on or about October 1, 2011 </li></ul>
    10. 10. Right to Bargain – Legal Basis <ul><li>National Labor Relations Act (Private Sector) </li></ul><ul><li>Meyers-Milias-Brown Act (Local Employees) </li></ul><ul><li>Educational Employees Relations Act (Schools) </li></ul><ul><li>State Employees Educational Relations Act (State) </li></ul><ul><li>Higher Education Employee Relations Act (University) </li></ul>
    11. 11. Concurrent Actions <ul><li>Contract Negotiation Preparation </li></ul><ul><li>Contract Negotiation </li></ul><ul><li>Contract Campaign Planning </li></ul><ul><li>Contract Campaign Execution </li></ul>